Keep Your Condo or Community Running Like a Well-Oiled Machine with a Solid Preventive Maintenance Plan
As a board member, you know that a preventive maintenance plan is one of your community's top priorities. Like tuning up your car, preventive maintenance helps keep your community’s equipment and environment safe for residents. Comprehensive preventive care can help you detect problems before they become critical, anticipate repairs and replacements, and, most importantly, help extend the life of essential assets in your community.
Here are some key components of a preventive maintenance program:
• Regular inspections: Regular inspections of common areas and assets are integral to an effective preventive maintenance plan. Checking for wear and tear, identifying potential hazards, and evaluating the general condition of the components are all part of these inspections. When maintenance needs are identified early, the association can address them before they escalate into costly issues.
• Scheduled maintenance tasks: A maintenance schedule outlines what needs to be done and when. For example, scheduled maintenance might include annual roof inspections or quarterly HVAC system checks. It is also important for your board to determine the frequency of maintenance according to each component's unique requirements and the equipment manufacturer's recommendations.
• Proactive decision-making: A well-executed preventive maintenance plan involves making decisions based on the current state of common area components and anticipating future needs. This may include replacing older parts before they fail or investing in updated technology to improve efficiency and reduce long-term maintenance costs. By being proactive, you can help ensure that components are always in good working order.
• Detailed record-keeping: An effective preventive maintenance plan requires keeping accurate records of all maintenance tasks, inspections, and expenses. The association can use these records to track the performance of components, identify recurring issues, and plan future maintenance. Also, maintain a record of the warranty on your equipment. For a warranty to be effective, the equipment may require a specific type of maintenance. Keeping well-documented records can also prove useful if your association ever needs to file an insurance claim or defend a legal dispute.
• Regular communication with residents: Clear and consistent communication between the association and its residents is essential to successful preventive maintenance. Newsletters or annual meetings, for example, can provide residents with information about upcoming maintenance projects.
A solid management partner can help your board stay in tune with equipment and service needs by developing and executing a solid preventive maintenance plan. This will ensure your assets remain in good working condition, saving you money by extending the life of all useful components.
“The right management company will work with your board to develop a preventive maintenance plan that meets the unique needs of your community,” said Danny Ellis, president at FirstService Residential. “To help maintain complex equipment and assets, condo and community associations need the support, expertise, and resources only a professional management company can offer.”
Watch our webinar recording to gain a deeper understanding of capital improvement projects and how they relate to preventive maintenance: Capital Improvements – A Blueprint for Success
Now that you’ve read about the critical components of a preventive maintenance plan, you may have decided to create one for your community. So, where should you start? We've put together a list of 5 tips to help you create a plan.
Tip #1. Inventory your equipment
According to Maureen Connolly, vice president at FirstService Residential, start by creating an inventory of your community's systems and equipment. "Visually inspect and document your property's equipment, systems, structural surfaces, and paving. Refer to your most recent reserve study to guide the process.” Note when you last serviced your equipment and the name of the vendor who provided the maintenance, if you rely on one for repairs. Also, note the equipment's serial number and take a few photos. Visual aids will help your team identify each asset.
Tip #2. Document needed repairs
The next step is to identify and document the necessary repairs. Repairing equipment before problems become too large will save your association time and money in the long run. Do you know the equipment’s history? Keeping track of past repair records and maintenance invoices will help your property manager anticipate maintenance needs. Create a database of all the items that must be maintained to help you understand what work is needed and when.
Tip #3. Keep your reserve study in mind
Your reserve study should be considered when creating your preventive maintenance program. A reserve study assumes that equipment components will reach their maximum useful life. So, if the preventive maintenance plan identifies that equipment is failing prior to maximum useful life, your reserve study and budget should be updated.
"As a board member, you have a responsibility to protect your association's finances," said Ellis. “By reviewing your community's reserve study annually, you can budget and plan for assets that will need to be replaced or upgraded in the future.”
Learn more about reserve studies and planning your maintenance and capital improvements by watching Ask the Experts: The Path to a Great Reserve Study
Tip #4. Create your predictive maintenance schedule
Predictive maintenance is designed to determine the condition of in-service equipment and estimate when maintenance should be performed. A preventive maintenance program should include a predictive maintenance schedule that will help to identify what equipment is performing at its optimum capacity, what equipment is on a path that will require attention at some point, and what equipment needs immediate attention. An experienced property management company will help you create a comprehensive predictive maintenance schedule using the latest tools and processes.
Tip #5. Find the right management partner
Creating and executing a preventive maintenance program for a condo or community association is a big job, but you don’t have to do it alone. Creating, implementing, and monitoring a comprehensive preventive maintenance schedule for your community association is much easier with the help of experienced professionals. A quality property management company will have access to engineers, maintenance staff, and third-party service technicians and vendors, ensuring that schedules are adhered to and the manufacturer’s instructions are followed.
For more information on how to put a preventive maintenance plan in place in your community, contact FirstService Residential, Florida’s leading property management company.